Several years ago in 2013 I was"diagnosed" with RA. I went through every medication including, humira, embral, to now IV fusions of remicade which has been almost a year. I am not feeling any better and body aches and joint pains getting worse. I started researching my symptoms and lyme kept coming up. 9 months in and many drs telling me i have nothing its my RA and that I am pretty much crazy, I made an appt. with an infectious disease dr whom also said my symptoms are RA nothing else related to lyme or ticks. Well today I found out after waiting 3 weeks for the results i tested negative for Lyme but positive for "Ehrlichiosis" now i am wondering if all this time of being untreated caused my body to fall apart. I am only 42 yrs old I have a 4 yr old i have no energy to play with or strength to open a jar of apple sauce. Can this positive "Ehrlichiosis" result be the cause of my ailments? And have gone untreated for ever how long cause so many masking problems? I have had so many abnormal blood tests for years. I start antibiotic today for 14 days is that gonna be enough? Is that going too heal me altogether? This is a bittersweet moment for me. Do I even really have Iron deficiency anemia or did this bacteria cause me to have problems?
Question created 1 year 4 months ago
Your case is really v challenging, yet motivating for some analysis. Often indeed chronic infection symptoms and autoimmune disease overlap, making it difficult for definitive diagnosis.
First off, how was ur RA diagnosed? Did you have arthralgias( joint pains), or frank arthritis( swelling, heat, tenderness)?! Also, as often RF can be positive in many inflammatory arthritis forms, I believe u should have had a positive anti-CCP antibodies, to have been labeled as RA; yet still, in 5% of cases anti-CCP could give false positive, though high levels are usually v suggestive. This means 5% of cases who have positive anti-CCP antibodies do not have RA( while this test is around 75% sensitive); could you be a v rare one of them?! If indeed your labeling was on the basis of RF, the chances of false positive results( i.e. RF is positive with no RA disease) may reach 20%. As for other blood inflammation coefficients-ESR, CRP, again they are non specific, and they can equally rise in chronic infection conditions. Thus, with only this given so far, u have the full reason to question ur diagnosis. More, the fact that u did not respond to different immune suppressors, upholds ur doubt. In fact, those medications, by virtue of their mechanism of action, could have made an infection much worse, and procrastinated. Ur no -response to those drugs would thus be of a two-fold reason.
Great u did not give up, n got hold of Ehrelichiosis. Still be cautious here; IFA, is the best available( as u may well know) diagnosis means, with paired samples( weeks apart), and for IgG antibodies, because for IgM false positive results are high. Of course, other positive tests( u certainly read about), support the diagnosis.
For treatment, Doxycycline is best, and response to it is very good!
A point of caution remains here. Though in medicine we tend to think of one condition to explain symptoms, Ehrlechiosis could have confounded a primary RA case that u really had, especially because u were immune suppressed!! To solve this, I suggest u stop all immune suppressors and stick to Doxycycline, and observe, and bear a little more, then judge. Bear in mind finally, that if ur RA was doubtful, could u have had another totally separate diagnosis altogether( vit deficiency, endocrinological, etc..)?
Best of luck; pleased to be kept posted :)
Dr Hana Fayyad, pediatrician (Maria Jasmine Freeman, published author, on menopause).
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asked 1 year 3 months ago
I used Remicade and Methrotrexate for 16 years. I recently had to go to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. I had an 4inch ulcer that didn't heal. Found out I had lymphoma and they pulled me off all arthritis meds and happy to say the ulcer healed in 5 weeks. My blood work does not show lymphoma now! The drugs were suppressing my immune system ! They said it was Methrotrexate I'm feeling much better and so far trying to deal with arthritis naturally without drugs ! Mayo hospital is the best! The place to go for answers!
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asked 1 year 4 months ago